How CERN happened for me: meet Ophélie, from CERN's HR legal team
My name is Ophélie and, like many people CERN, my studies brought me to this Organization.
Contrary to what probably just popped in your mind, no I am not in the scientific field : I am a fellow in the Legal Advice section of CERN's Human Resources Department.
As part of my double degree in law, LLB and Maîtrise française, I studied for two years at the University of Essex in England, and then two years at the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in France. The international sphere was always of great interest to me, so naturally, I specialised for my first Masters in international law, and continued with a second Masters in International Legal Careers at the Université Grenoble-Alpes, France. This last diploma required me to get an internship and this is "how CERN happened” for me.
On a day-to-day basis, I provide support for the HR legal advisors on any kind of legal research, individual or collective challenge of an administrative decision, interpretation of texts, and many other tasks.
Working at CERN has taught me many things. For example, I would say that CERN is an intense environment, on the scientific level for sure but also on the administration level, everything tends to move – maybe not at the speed of light but – fast. It taught me how to manage a lot of things at the same time but also, when needed, to focus on one thing at a time, and work in a team.
On another subject, but which is quite significant if you knew me well : working at CERN has allowed me to reconnect with my long lost interest for physics!
What struck me the most in my experience here is that working at CERN really means working in an environment full of brilliant people, being surrounded by interesting colleagues coming from different backgrounds, who are well-travelled and more than willing – happy even – to share their experience with you… even if you are 30 years younger than them and just started your career ! And what better way to develop an interest in something than to exchange with passionate people, in any field of expertise?
For me, CERN started as a three-month adventure, just the opportunity to discover what it meant to work in a "company" environment (as opposed to a law firm), in a European Organisation. Now, I just celebrated my first year at CERN and I would love it to continue!
So my best advice to the potential applicants is : APPLY ! You never know what the future will bring and even if you do not happen to stay very long, I guarantee you would have learned many things along the way.